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CINAHL - Finding Research Articles

CINAHL  - UW restricted.  Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature, provides coverage of the literature in nursing and 17 allied health disciplines, full text for 734 journals, and indexing for over 5,000 journals. Unlimited users. Truncation symbol is the asterisk (*). How-to Guides from the UWB Campus Library and the UW Health Sciences Library.

New as of Sept. 23, 2016: The UW Libraries has upgraded to “CINAHL Complete” (linked above) with more full text access. Please excuse us while we transition to this new version, and we apologize if the instructions are different than what is listed below. Please contact us with your questions at Julie Planchon Wolf at email:, phone: (425) 352-3452, or Heather Newcomer at email:, phone: (425) 352-3167.

CINAHL Guides and Tutorials:

  • BNURS 501: CINAHL activity in Canvas. Your CINAHL assignment from BNURS 501 applies to this course! It contains how to information such as getting to CINAHL, searching, CINAHL Headings/Subjects, limiters, locating the full text of articles, Interlibrary Loan, My EbscoHost, citing tips, and more.
  • CINAHL Tutorials: Online tutorials on how to use CINAHL include how to access the UW restricted database from off-campus brainstorming search words before you search, using CINAHL Subject Headings, an introduction to searching, locating the full text of the article, linking to the UW Libraries Interlibrary Loan system to request articles, searching across multiple databases at once, and searching for a citation in the UW Libraries Search system.

To access CINAHL away from campus, click on the CINAHL link above and you should be prompted to login with you UW NetID and password.

To Limit to Research Articles in CINAHL: 

1. Type your search into the search box(es). Examples: registered nurse and job satisfaction
                                                                                      improve and nurs* and job satisfaction and retention

If needed, you can add the word qualitative or quantitative to your search. (Optional UW HSL guide for "Finding Qualitative Research Articles")
-- native americans and diabetes and qualitative
                            -- aged and female and chronic pain and quantitative

Can also add the CINAHL Heading of "Qualitative Studies" to your search.

2. Use Limiters (optional), located below the search boxes, to narrow your search to the date, author or publication name.  

For example:  

  • Published Date – Limit search results to specific date ranges.
  • Publication – Limit search results from a specific title.
  • English Language
  • Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals – Limit results to scholarly sources.
  • Research Article – Limit to research studies or examinations of subject matter that use investigational or experimental techniques. Research studies can include data collection, subject selection, methodology, discussion of results, and application, if available.
  • Randomized Controlled Trials – Limit to RCTs.
  • Evidence-Based Practice – Limit EBP sources (Note: May produce limited results)
  • Any Author is Nurse or First Author is Nurse – Limit to resources that have a nurse as an author (Note: Only produces results from 2009-present)
  • Publication Type – Limit results to source types such as Review. Other options might include Clinical Trial, Evidence-Based Care Sheet, Journal Article, Meta Analysis, Meta Synthesis, Nursing Diagnoses, Nursing Interventions, Questionnaire/Scale, Randomized Controlled Trial, Research, Research Instrument, Standards, Statistics, Systematic Review, Tables/Charts, or Teaching Materials. Scroll down in the box to see the full list of types. You can select multiple items either by holding down the control key (Ctrl) on a PC, or the Apple button on a Mac.
  • Clinical Queries – (What are they? Search strategies used, Help Sheet.doc) – Can limit to Therapy, Prognosis, Review, Qualitative, and Causation (Etiology). See the Help Sheet for definitions of High Sensitivity, High Specificity, and Best Balance.

The CINAHL limits shown below include: Published Date (2011-2017), Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals, and the Publication Types of Standards, Statistics, and Systematic Reviews.


3. Click on the Search button at the top right or bottom left-hand corner of the page. 


Another way to search: A link for CINAHL Headings  is located at the top of the CINAHL page. In many cases, the most efficient way to search is by using these headings which are the terms used to assign subject headings to the articles in the database. See the detailed CINAHL Tutorial: CINAHL Subject Headings for a detailed illustration.

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